Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Invasion Of Privacy? Not Really?

It's kind of amusing to read some of the reactions to this proposal by Mayor Mike:
Through wireless technology, traffic engineers in Long Island City can now gather data from microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers at 23 intersections across 110 Midtown blocks.

Once city workers have consolidated this data in a computer program, they plan to identify the most troubled traffic spots from Second Avenue to Avenue of the Americas and 42nd to 57th Street. That way they can alter the lengths of lights by a few seconds to help improve traffic flow. They also plan to offer this data to software developers so that drivers and passengers can gain access to this detailed information on their iPads or iPhones.

The city has a clear motivation in improving traffic: Mr. Bloomberg estimated on Monday that traffic delays cost the city’s economy $13 billion.

The danger here of course is the use of video camera and EZ-Pass-- the region's electronic toll collection system-- data to issue summonses. Already, redlight cameras are legal in the city and a program to roll those out more broadly is underway. Combining video cameras and EZ Passes would make it easier for cops to target double-parked vehicles, illegal turns and so on.

Of course, the main reason is the traffic, which ironically would be a lot easier in the first place if not for all those double-parkers and illegal turners...